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Follow these steps when appointing a new employee

November 2021


It is necessary to follow the correct procedures when appointing new employees. The procedure is regulated by the labour laws of South Africa. Should you not follow the correct procedure it could become costly for your business.

When appointing a new employee, certain steps have to be followed. Please note that the steps advised are not all required by law. Some are practical steps to assist in preventing labour disputes, to save you costs and to demonstrate sound management.


  1. Should you decide to appoint a new employee, whether it is for a new post or to fill a vacancy, support your decision by an organisational structure indicating where the relevant post fits into your business.
  2. Next compile a job analysis consisting of a job description and job specification. A job analysis is a written document in which is described what the job entails, and the knowledge, training, skills, experience, and abilities needed to perform the job.
  3. Your next step will be to recruit potential work-seekers to fill the vacant post. Normally this is referred to as advertising to be done internally and externally. Advertising can be done in different ways of which the most common way is to advertise in a paper or magazine. You can even put up an advertisement on your farm gate. With advertising it is necessary to take note of specific legislation prohibiting discrimination towards employees. This aspect is regulated by Act No. 55 of 1998: Employment Equity Act. For instance, should you wish to fill a vacancy for a tractor driver, you may not invite applications from only men as women can also drive tractors.
  4. Ask potential work seekers to complete a suitable application form or at least to forward their latest Curriculum Vitae (CV). This will help you to compile a shortlist of three to five people which you would like to interview in person. This is where the job analysis is an absolute must document to use. If one requirement is that a valid driver’s license is required, you can exclude all applicants without a driver’s license.
  5. Set up interviews on a specific date and time for each applicant on the shortlist. Make sure to use a venue which is private and where you will not be disturbed. A practical hint: Keep record of questions asked and each applicant’s answers during the actual interviews. On the day of interview the shortlist applicants must provide you with certified copies of qualifications and other documents which you may require. A valid South African identity document is a compulsory requirement at all times or in the case of foreigners valid working permits.

    During the interview you may test a job skill such as tractor driving. Let the applicant drive a tractor – if he/she can reverse a tractor with a four-wheel trailer they can drive a tractor.
  6. Make your selection based on the job analysis (job description, job specification), application forms and/or CV, information provided at the interview, possible tests and references which you have followed up. Try to allocate marks (for instance from 1 to 10) for different aspects. It simplifies your motivation of choice of a specific applicant.

    Remember unsuccessful applicants may confront you as employer via a dispute at the CCMA. If possible, it is advisable to select a first and second choice candidate should number one not accept the appointment.
  7. Lastly make an offer to the chosen applicant and provide him/her with a service contract and file the original in the employee’s personal file.

There must be a sound reason for a vacancy according to your organisational structure. It is very risky to hire somebody off the street. Should a dispute arise, it will be very difficult to prove anything without a proper paper trail. Farming today is a business and you must run it as such.

Publication: November 2021

Section: Pula/Imvula